Friday, July 31, 2009

Petition madness

The Nation reports that the establishment feels the Thaksin pardon petition is "miring the monarchy in a political game"

ROFLMAO 5555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555

Fonzi at Thailand Jumped the Shark has an excellent analysis of how the Democrats are hypocrits in this matter.

The whole situation is surreal to me:

- I have not seen the petition, but understand that a pardon is requested, yet that seems legally impossible because Thaksin has not served any time and fled the country to avoid jail.

- The Government is now going gangbusters employing television, military, police & government resources to criticize the petition, and they have the gall to accuse the reds of being divisive!

Here's my simple advice to the government: - Just ignore the petition, and let the palace representatives explain the legalities of why it cannot be acted upon.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Dr T.

Some pictures of Chiang Mai supporters celebrating Thaksin's 60'th birthday on Sunday night.
First few pictures are a couple of hours before Thaksin's phone-in, when speeches were being made by local radio DJ's.

Looks like they were going for some sort of record for the most number of cakes - there were lots - I didn't stick around to see who got to eat them.

There were also a large number of birthday messages being written on a large sheet - by the looks of the size of the sheet being rolled up, they might have set some sort of record for longest birthday card too:)

The crowd was much thicker when the man of the moment made his phone-in. My translator was AWOL, so I did not get all of what he was talking about, but I understand he made some announcements of projects, and at times he seemed quite emotional. The crowd listened intently and there were fireworks after the speech ended and they had sung Happy Birthday to Thaksin.

I spoke with a few in the crowd and these people are definitely not paid to attend such events, nor do they need to be paid to vote for a Thaksin party as they genuinely believe Thaksin has good policies.
They grumbled about the economy, which makes me think that perhaps Thaksin and his nominee party are somewhat fortunate they are not in power during the worst of this worldwide economic downturn as they don't have to cop the flak, and can look like saviours when they are inevitably elected.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Spin??? You decide

Veera Prateepchaikul in a Bangkok Post opinion piece:
"Niyom was released on bail the next day, but the red shirt mob remained unperturbed and went on with their protest against Finance Minister Korn at Chiangmai University, apparently urged on by hate statements from their community radio. Violent confrontation ensued as the red shirt thugs tried unsuccessfully to break through a police cordon to get into the campus. During the clash, huge firecrackers were allegedly lobbed at the police by the protesters. But as always with all the violent incidents perpetrated by Chiang Mai's red shirt mob, not a single red shirt was arrested at the scene. Police said they were collecting evidence to seek the arrest of the troublemakers. But will that ever happen? I doubt it".

I now cannot believe anything I read in in the Bangkok Post, and its depressing to think that The Nation is generally considered worse than the Post!
(btw, I am not claiming that there are no violent elements withing the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group, but the Friday lunchtime protest continues to be misreported, and I am confident the vast majority of the people at the Rak Chiang Mai 51 events are just peaceful protesters, disenchanted and disillusioned at how their votes have been taken away from them.

Bangkok Post report
Ch. Mai red-shirts march against Korn
Published: 17/07/2009 at 02:19 PM
At least 200 red-shirts marched to Chiang Mai University on Friday afternoon to protest against Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij, who was briefing local officials and businessmen on the government's economic stimulus projects, police said.
Mr Korn called a meeting of representatives from the private sector and leaders of local communities in Chiang Mai for a briefing on the 18.6 billion baht budget allocated under the government’s Thai Khem Khaeng (Strong Thailand) scheme for the development of the northern city.
The minister said the budget, the second largest after Bangkok, was for the development of education, transport, tourism and irrigation systems in the province.
The march began about 1pm from the protesters' base at Grand Waroros Palace hotel in Chiang Mai. About 1,000 police were deployed to maintain order and to prevent the demonstrators from storming into the university.
(Hobby: They never even looked like attempting to storm the Uni)
Police using loud hailers asked the red-shirts to comply with the rule of law and return home, but they did not. The red-shirts tried to force their way through the police lines to go the meeting hall, but they failed.
(Hobby: IMO, that's a lie)
After being pressured by police for more than half an hour, the red-shirted supporters of Kon Rak Chiang Mai (People Who Love Chiang Mai) 51 group dispersed and the regrouped at the Grand Waroros Palace hotel.
One police officer was injured by giant firecrackers thrown at police by the red-shirts during the confrontation. He was rushed to a hospital.

The Nation report
Some 200 red-shirt protesters blocked from reaching Korn in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai - Some 200 red-shirt protesters were stopped by police from reaching the auditorium of Chiang Mai University where Finance Minister Korn Chatikavenij was holding a meeting Friday afternoon.Some 1,000 policemen blocked the roads that lead to the auditorium, preventing the red-shirt protesters from storming inside. (Hobby: There was no attempt to storm the building, nor did it ever look like that was intended)

Korn was holding a meeting of officials from banks owned by the Finance Ministry at the university's auditorium.

Eyewitness report
The red shirted protesters, numbering approximately 200, left the gathering point near the Grand Waroros Palace hotel in a well organized convoy and made their way peacefully to the Chiang Mai University site. They caused little disruption to traffic, and were watched by the lunchtime crowd, many of whom offered encouragement to the protesters.

Upon arriving at the Chiang Mai University site where they believed Korn was in attendance, they were met by a large formation of police in riot gear and carrying shields & batons.
The protesters formed into a group about 30 metres away from the line of police, who appeared to greatly outnumber the protesters by about five police for every protester.

For the next half hour or so the protesers gathered peacefully, holding signs up, chanting slogans, led by a speaker with microphone & loud speakers on top of a platformed vehicle.
Whilst the police had blocked off Nimmanhaemin Road themselves with barricades and their riot formation, the traffic on busy Suthep Road was still just flowing (slowly), and most motorists seemed to take the protest in good humour, with many still offering encouragement to the protesters.

Suddenly the police formation crossed the 30 metres of road intersection space, and advanced on the protesters in close riot formation and confronted the protesters. After a stand off lasting less than a minute, the police maintained their formation, and used their shields to force the protesters back to the sidewalk, or down Suthep Road.

There were a few shouts of anger at the sudden move by the police, and some plastic water bottles & firecrackers were thrown into the police formation.
After the police had forced the protesters off the road, they kept them barricaded on the sidewalk, until some light rain fell and most of the protesters dispersed, apparently heading back to the Grand Waroros Palace hotel meeting point.

NOTE: Today's protest came after more serious clashes last night at the Chiang Mai Airport for Korn's arrival, and at Phuphing Police Station after one of the red shirt leaders was detained for having an unlicenced pisol in his car at the airport.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Too 'hot' for Bangkok Post and Prachatai

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the translation, or whether there even was an such an article in "Deum Ampil", but as it has now disappeared from the Bangkok Post forums, I'm saving it here for posterity, and a bit of a laugh :)

Thailand Suffers Massive Loss of Face at UNESCO Meeting

by Domrei on Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:32 pm

A high-ranking Cambodian government official source told “Deum Ampil” on 23 June 2009 that the UNESCO World Heritage committee has decided to reject the request made by Thailand’s prime minister who attempted to obtain a joint listing of Preah Vihear temple between Cambodia and Thailand.
This rejection by UNESCO brings a loss of face to the Thai government, and especially Thailand’s PM who came to power through a constitutional coup with the help of Thailand’s royaaal palaaace and a group of Thai generals.

This loss of face clearly points to the serious defeat of Thailand’s ministry of Natural Resources and Environment which was tasked by Abhisit Vejjajiva, Thailand’s PM, to take this issue to the 33rd meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage committee in Seville, Spain. Thailand wanted to obtain a review of the listing of Cambodia’s Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site.

The current defeat brings up Thailand’s shameless ambition to the world’s attention, and it also shows Thailand’s attempt to violate Cambodian’s sovereignty and Cambodia’s Preah Vihear temple.

According to report from Bangkok on Tuesday, Thai deputy-PM Suthep Thaugsuban indicated that he will perform an official visit to Cambodia on Saturday to confirm to Hun Sen about Bangkok’s opposition stance to the listing of Preah Vihear temple.Suthep said that “he and Thailand’s defense minister, General Pravit Wongsuwan, will visit Cambodia to meet with Hun Sen to explain to the latter and to clear up a number of misunderstandings about Preah Vihear temple between the two countries.”

Even though Suthep confirmed his trip to Cambodia this Saturday, Kuy Kuong, the spokesman of Cambodia’s ministry of Foreign Affairs, indicated that up to now, his ministry did not receive any diplomatic communiqué from Thailand about this trip yet. He added: “Up to now, we received information indicating the official visit of Thailand’s deputy-PM and its minister of defense to Cambodia, but as of Tuesday, the Cambodian embassy has not received an official communiqué about this trip yet, and neither does the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok.”Suthep added: “Thailand and Cambodia shared the goal of avoiding continued border dispute in Preah Vihear area, and the current dispute is not between Thailand and Cambodia, but rather between Thailand the UNESCO World Heritage committee.”

Suthep added that he hopes to be able to get Bangkok’s point across to Hun Sen.Information about Suthep’s visit to Cambodia under the order of Abhisit was reported following Hun Sen’s sharp reaction to the issue raised by the unlawful leaders of Thailand, including Abhisit, Thailand’s bitter (“Phler Lvea”) PM, and Kasit Piromya, the rude Thai Foreign Affairs minister with a big liver (“Thloeum Thom”), who dare ask UNESCO to review the listing of Preah Vihear temple and a joint listing of this temple.

This issue is raised by dumb-like persons, as if they were ghosts who lead a country with a population of 7 million. This is why Samdach Akok Moha Sena Bat Dey Dek Cho Hun Sen, the intelligent prime minister who is full of wisdom, expressed his strong regret about the issue raised by these retarded people.

Hun Sen told reporters at the ministry of Foreign Affairs: “I believe that these are his words as the PM of a country that disturbs the sovereignty of another country, and I regret his comments and his desire (Thai PM). During his visit to Cambodia, he did not raise this issue with me, but I believe that his goal will not be successful.”

For more of the Cambodian perspective I recommend the Khmerization blog as a good source.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thaksin visits Coup leader

Thaksin has paid a visit to Fiji's coup installed PM, military commander Frank Bainimarama, as reported in The Australian:
Fugitive former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra's secret Fiji talks

"The subject of their discussions, held in Mr Bainimarama's office in Suva on Monday, is unknown, but informed sources in Fiji say Mr Thaksin is considering investing $300million in the country.
In return, he would probably be assured safety there from extradition, if he should choose to use Fiji as one of his bases in exile. Thailand is seeking to return him to Bangkok, where he faces two years in jail for abuse of power

Surely those reports about Thaksin looking to do a deal with the the coup leader are incorrect, and the real purpose for Thaksin's visit must have been to advise Bainimarama about the principles of democracy and how to quickly return power in Fiji to the people.